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Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Book Review of ISAN by Mary Ting, Plus an Interview with the Author!

ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network #1) by Mary Ting
Genre: Young Adult (Dystopian)
Date Published: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Vesuvian Books

The world has changed.

Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out. 

ISAN is the first book in the International Sensory Assassin Network series by Mary Ting. This is a book I'd been looking forward to reading, and it didn't disappoint. The first half is a little slow, but the second half more than makes up for it. Ava is such a believable character. She's being trained as an assassin, and she follows orders, but she's starting to question things. Through the whole thing her heart and head conflict with each other, and sometimes they trade places. Like with real emotions, nothing is ever easy. There's action, romance, and even a little mystery in the mix. It was a clever little story, and added a little something we needed in the dystopian genre.

The ARC of ISAN by Mary Ting was kindly provided to me by Good Choice Reading Promotions for review. The opinions are my own.

“Would you like my assistance? Or you can just stand there so I can stare at you a bit longer.”

Startled, I whirled toward the sound of a familiar, seductive voice. Sniper stood by the walk-in closet in a cool, relaxed manner with his hand braced on the door. His hair was slicked back, looking polished and debonair. My heart pummeled, but not in fear.

Was I crazy to be attracted to him? Mesmerized by the black tuxedo forming to his perfect body, I stared at him and wondered if I’d dreamed him up. His presence confirmed I hadn’t imagined him above the stairs earlier. Then I wondered if he’d come alone.

“How’d you know I was here?”

Unnerved, I gritted my teeth. He hadn’t heeded my warning to stay away. I should scream or plan an escape out of the bathroom, but I couldn’t move or think. His presence stirred my curiosity and I wanted answers, especially when the lunatic thought he knew me.
“It doesn’t concern you,” he said.

His nonchalant tone caused me to raise my voice. “The hell it doesn’t.”

“I’ll explain later.”

I scoffed. “Are you here to try to kidnap me again?”

I might not have Helix, but I had my heels and months of training backing me up. If there was one thing I was good at, it was bringing a person to their knees. Courage grew inside me and I dropped my dress.

Sniper snapped out of his stupor and his amber eyes grew darker.

“Where are my manners? I admire the dress, but I like what you’re wearing now so much more.” He waggled his eyebrows. “You look absolutely beautiful tonight.”

No. Don’t say that.

I became breathless when he closed the gap between us. Why was I letting him? When Sniper raised his hand, I flinched. My heart galloped faster when he cupped my face and ran his thumb ever so tenderly along my cheek.

“I wish I could’ve been your date tonight. We could’ve danced together. Dancing with me always made you happy.”

I closed my eyes for several seconds, hypnotized by his voice, by his touch. I pictured us slow dancing, not because it had happened, but because I desperately wanted the happiness he described.

Then I came to my senses. Leaning into his caress, I pretended to enjoy it, which wasn’t hard. Moving slowly, I raised my knee … 

What inspired you to write ISAN?
 I love to imagine what the world would be like in the future. I wish I could live in a time where there are flying cars. For that reason, I created a world I thought our future might look like. I also used to teach Kindergarten, something you might not know about me. I’d taught for almost 20 years. Anyway, I had taught sensory for science. A thought occurred that drove me to write ISAN. Wouldn’t it be cool if what destroyed us also gave us a gift. What if the meteor gave us the power of supernatural powers? And that is how ISAN began.

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research? 
Maybe not the weirdest but the hardest. Finding a name for the serum the girls are injected with. Finally, after a week of research and thinking, I came up with HelixB77. Why you ask? Helix—for the DNA strands. B—stands for batch. 77 stands for the number of tries it took the scientist to perfect the serum.

I've read several of your books. They'd make great movies. Would you want to turn any of them into a movie? 
 Thank you so much! I would have to say ISAN. From what I have read from the reviews, ISAN is packed with mystery, romance, and action. I believe these are great components for a movie or TV series. ISAN has been optioned ☺ Crossing my fingers and toes.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows? 
 Hmmm … a secret. Maybe not a secret, but not many of my readers know that I was one of five founding members of an asian sorority in University of Irvine—Kappa Zeta Phi. And I used to be in dance in high school.

What book have you read too many times to count?  
 Twilight. Yes, I’m a huge fan. Twilight got me back into reading. I used to make Twilight jewelries with my friends. LOL. We were called Inspired By Twilight.
Check out the next book in this series!

Check out my reviews of some of Mary Ting's books!


International Bestselling, Award-Winning, Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Check out my previous interview with Mary Ting!

To learn more about Mary Ting and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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